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Bid to ban tolls for carpools dies in Assembly committee

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A state proposal to prohibit charging tolls for carpools has died in an Assembly committee after local transportation officials, including those overseeing the 91 Express Lanes, warned it would tie their hands to manage the flow of cars.

The legislation, by state Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), failed late Monday to make it out of the Assembly Transportation Committee after none of the members would make a motion for its approval. Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), the committee’s chairwoman, said she did not want to hamstring the ability of local transportation officials to manage traffic congestion.

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By charging discounted tolls to carpoolers, some agencies are able to control the amount of traffic, using special express lanes so they don’t bog down.

‘I don’t know why you would want to limit your options,’ Assemblyman Jeff Miller (R-Corona) said in opposition to SB 1245 during a hearing on the measure.

‘Because it’s the fair thing to do,’ Simitian responded, adding that it was wrong to charge tolls to people who were making an effort to share their ride to and from work.

-- Patrick McGreevy


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